My Custodian Shadowkeeper on WarhammerTV

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to have one of my models make it onto Warhammer TV Twitch channel again! My Custodian Shadowkeeper featured alongside the work of other hobbyists on this Friday’s ‘Hang Out and Paint’ episode on Warhammer TV (Friday 3rd February episode, at around the 2 minute mark, if anyone would like to see it).

It’s always an honour to have had my work exhibited in this way, and a big thank you to Em, Ben and the rest of the Warhammer Community Team for their kind words about the paint job and the LED effects!

Helios Pho, Custodian Shadowkeeper

Choose the darkness of the cells or the golden light of the Emperor, abomination. I care not which!

Helios Pho

It’s been an slow start to the year, with this Adeptus Custodes model taking up the majority of my hobby time in January. But as elaborate as this model may look, this is actually just a test model for another upcoming project! I’m actually testing multiple technniques on this model; non-metallic metal (NMM) painting, flickering LED fire as a weapon effect, the Shadowkeepers Shield Host colour schemes and scorched wasteland bases.


My design statement for the lighting on this model was “The Golden Light of the Emperor”. Previously I’ve used green for Custodes eyes, but I’ve never been 100% happy with that, and decided that a golden yellow might be more in keeping with their imagery. To create the LED eye lenses, I used the technique described in my LED Eye Lens Tutorial. The only thing I did differenly for this miniature was that I decided to use two 0805 SMD chip LEDs in parallel as an experiment, rather than a single 1.8mm LED. The visual results were practically the same. There are pros and cons to using each type of LED. For example the SMD LEDs are easier to install in the helmet, but more fiddly to wire up than the 1.8mm LEDs, plus you need two of them rather than one. The experiment was definitely worth doing, but it won’t sway me to switch to SMD chips for eyes in future.

Next let’s look at the flickering fire on the blade. I wanted to show a guardian spear that was burning with golden flames of the Emperor’s wrath – the perfect weapon for a Shadowkeeper on the hunt! However, this concept broke two of my LED Design Philosophy “rules”. Rule number one is to “follow the art”, and I don’t actually recall any instances of Custodians with flaming weapons. Rule number four is to “consider the passage of time”, i.e. avoid a sense of motion with your LEDs if the model is not moving! As you can see in the video below, the flame-effect LED flickers to simulate the motion of flames. But despite these rules I had a strong image in my head for how I wanted this miniature to look, and as they say, rules are made to be broken!

The flame LED is a simple 5mm 3V LED stolen from a Tea Light LED candle like this. It is wired into the miniature using the techniques described in my Simple LED Muzzle Flare Tutorial, including the use of acrylic gel to create the flame effects. You can see the path of the wires through the right arm of the miniatures in the images below. All the LEDs in this miniature were connected in parallel to a single CR2032 coin cell battery and switch in the base.


I’ve always been a fan of dark armoured Custodes, like the ones seen in the corner of the iconic image below. I love the way it makes them look secretive and sinister. In my mind they aren’t straight-up “good guys”. Their function is to unsure the safety of the Emperor, and any other considerations are secondary. In a similar vein, I’ve enjoyed the lore of the Shadowkeepers Shield Host since I first read about it when the Adeptus Custodes recieved their own codex a few years ago. The idea of these grim wardens patrolling the dark and forgotten cells deep below the Emperor’s Palace is extremely evocative. So when the time came to revisit the Custodes, the Shadowkeepers were a natural choice for the colour scheme.

This was my first time attempting NMM on something larger than a reflective visor. I’m fairly pleased with the results for a first attempt, and definitely learnt a few lessons along the way. The recipes were taken from the WarhammerTV Citadel Masterclass episode on painting NMM – as an aside, Warhammer+ is well worth the subscription in my opinion – so I don’t think I share the recipes in their entirety like I normally do. But I will share the paints involved so you get the gist.

  • Gold NMM
  • XV-88, Balor Brown, Zamesi Desert and Ushabti Bone highlights
  • Doombull Brown and Abaddon Black shades
  • Silver NMM
  • Administratum Grey and White Scar highlights
  • Dark Reaper and Abaddon Black shades
  • Red Robes & Plume
  • Mephiston Red and Ushabti Bone highlights
  • Mephiston Red, Xereus Purple and Abaddon Black shades
  • Scorched Wasteland Base
  • Dryad Bark basecoat
  • Agrellan Earth technical paint
  • Screaming Skull drybrush
  • Mordheim Turf grass tufts
  • Agrax Earthshade shade on grass tufts
  • Screaming Skull drybrush on grass tufts

This was my first time using a crackle paint for basing effects, and I think I should have applied a slightly thicker layer to get larger cracks. I was aiming to create the image of a scorched and blasted wasteland, with the Custodes striding through in search of the escaped horror that had caused this devestation.

That’s it for this week, as always, thanks very much for reading, and please don’t forget you can also follow my work on social media at TwitterMastodon and Instagram. I’ll see you again soon for some more test models, then some ‘actual’ models, plus of course more Flesh Eater space marines and maybe even some Seraphon!